Donald Trump: ‘I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged’

Nick Moriarty of Columbus, Ohio, and others, wait for the arrival of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to a town hall event on Monday in Columbus, Ohio . AP/Evan Vucci

Nick Moriarty of Columbus, Ohio, and others, wait for the arrival of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to a town hall event on Monday in Columbus, Ohio . AP/Evan Vucci

We are only at the beginning of August, and already the Republican candidate is suggesting “we wuz robbed.” From the Associated Press:

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump suggested Monday that he fears the general election “is going to be rigged” — an unprecedented assertion by a modern presidential candidate.logo-all

Trump’s extraordinary claim — one he did not back up with any immediate evidence — would, if it became more than just an offhand comment, seem to threaten the tradition of peacefully contested elections and challenge the very essence of a fair democratic process.

“I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged, I have to be honest,” the Republican nominee told a town hall crowd in Columbus, Ohio. He added that he has been hearing “more and more” that the election may not be contested fairly, though he did not elaborate further.

Trump made the claim after first suggesting that the Democrats had fixed their primary system so Hillary Clinton could defeat Bernie Sanders. Trump has previously backed up that thought by pointing to hacked emails from the national party that appeared to indicate a preference for Clinton. Still, the former secretary of state received 3.7 million more votes than Sanders nationwide and had established a clear lead in delegates by March 1.

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The Gallup organization tells us why Donald Trump might be nervous. It turns out the GOP convention in Cleveland actually turned voters off – the first such result that the polling firm has ever found:

PRINCETON, N.J. — Americans are evenly divided on whether they view the Democratic Party more favorably (44%) or less favorably (42%) after the party’s national convention last week. However, their ratings of the Republican Party after the GOP convention two weeks ago were significantly worse, with 35% saying they viewed the party more favorably and 52% less favorably.

The results are based on Gallup polls conducted in the days immediately after each party’s convention — the Republican convention in Cleveland from July 18-21 and the Democratic convention in Philadelphia from July 25-28….

Gallup has asked this question about Democratic and Republican national conventions since 1984, with the exceptions of the 1984 and 1992 Republican conventions. The 2016 Republican convention is the first after which a greater percentage of Americans have said they are “less likely” rather than “more likely” to vote for the party’s presidential nominee.

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We have not yet heard U.S. Sens. Johnny Isakson or David Perdue speak on this, but they now have an invitation. Donald Trump asked Capitol Hill Republicans for backup yesterday after his attacks on the Muslim family of a slain U.S. Army captain continued to draw headlines and condemnation. Reuters reports: 

Rob Wasinger, a onetime congressional candidate who has been working for the Trump camp on congressional outreach, sent an email to senior Senate aides saying, “We want to get several member statements out today on this, and would really appreciate your help.”

A similar appeal was made to Republicans in the House of Representatives, according to a senior aide.

Attached to the appeal were talking points lawmakers could use to try to tamp down the controversy growing since last week’s appearance at the Democratic convention by the Khans, the parents of U.S. Army Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed by a bomb in Iraq 12 years ago.

The news came as military and veterans groups continued to rebuke the Republican nominee. The leader of the 1.7 million-member group Veterans of Foreign Wars said Trump’s comments were “out-of-bounds.”

“There are certain sacrosanct subjects that no amount of wordsmithing can repair once crossed,” said VFW’s Brian Duffy. “Giving one’s life to nation is the greatest sacrifice, followed closely by all Gold Star families, who have a right to make their voices heard.”

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Jim Barksdale, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, this morning challenged Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson to a series of six debates on the economy, to be held in each of the state’s major media markets (Albany, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Macon and Savannah).

“I believe voters across Georgia need to hear directly from both major party candidates in Georgia’s only statewide office on the ballot in November,” Barksdale said.

We shall enquired with the Isakson campaign, and have received this response in the name of Trey Kilpatrick, the Republican’s campaign manager:

“We look forward to debating as we have always done in the general election. Johnny has asked our campaign leadership to reach out and begin negotiations with the Barksdale campaign.”

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We’ve devoted a lot of ink lately to how some Democrats think Georgia will be in play this November thanks to demographic changes and the divisiveness of Donald Trump. The latest polls indicate the state is competitive, but as we also told you yesterday, if Georgia were a true battleground you’d know it.

One of Hillary Clinton’s top financial boosters indicated as much yesterday in an interview with Bloomberg Politics. Says Guy Cecil, the co-chair of the pro-Clinton super PAC Priorities USA:

“I think Georgia and Indiana are the next two states that we poll in pretty regularly and are taking a look at. Part of this is just having resources, and if we have the opportunity to raise more than we expect then we’ll look at additional states. But right now our focus is in making sure we’re doing everything we can in the nine states we’re advertising in—which are essentially the nine closest Obama states.”

Those nine states, by the way, are what the presidential campaigns identified as the core battlegrounds in 2012: Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado and Nevada. As Bloomberg notes, Priorities USA is advertising in eight of the nine states this year and swapped Pennsylvania for the Badger State.

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Gov. Nathan Deal will have more than 70 attorneys to choose from when he taps the next two Georgia Supreme Court justices. The Daily Report says that the list of potential candidates includes several Court of Appeals judges and Superior Court jurists. From the story:

Though not a judge, Patrise Perkins-Hooker, the Fulton County attorney and former general counsel of Atlanta Beltline Inc., is also in the mix. Perkins-Hooker was the first African-American lawyer to serve as president of the State Bar of Georgia. The high court currently has one woman and two African-American members, and the governor has taken considerable heat from those pressing for more diversity in his appointments.

Other notable figures on the list-in-progress include Court of Appeals Judges M. Yvette Miller and Nels Peterson; personal injury lawyer and mediator M. Gino Brogdon Sr., and DeKalb County State Court Judge Dax Lopez, whose nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia was blocked.

Remember, he’ll have another seat to fill in January when Chief Justice Hugh Thompson retires.

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President Obama signed into law a bill that renames a Riverdale post office after Major Greg Barney, the town’s first police officer to die in the line of duty. Barney was killed on Feb. 11 during a drug raid. He was the first African-American to serve as chief of police in Riverdale, where he had just celebrated his 25th year on the force. Read more here. 

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Today marks 98 days until Americans vote in federal and state races on Nov. 8.

All year, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has brought you the key moments in those races, and it will continue to cover the campaign’s main events, examine the issues and analyze candidates’ finance reports until the last ballot is counted. You can follow the developments on the AJC’s politics page at http://www.myajc.com/s/news/georgia-politics/ and in the Political Insider blog at http://www.myajc.com/s/news/political-insider/. You can also track our coverage on Twitter at https://twitter.com/GAPoliticsNews or Facebook at https://facebook.com/gapoliticsnewsnow.


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